The U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue its monumental decision in the same-sex ‘marriage’ case, Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision could come as early as tomorrow and at the latest next Monday, June 29th. Many experts believe there is a strong chance the U.S. Supreme Court will attempt to force same-sex ‘marriage’ on all 50 states, including Texas. This redefinition of marriage would change marriage as it has been known and celebrated for thousands of years in cultures worldwide.
There are two legal questions underlying the case: “1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
Here are four important things you need to know about the case and the potential impact of the decision:
1. There is NOTHING in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Unelected judges have no legitimate authority to insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere. The Constitution allows the states to settle marriage policy and there is no reason that should change.
2. Texas County Clerks must follow state law in issuing marriage licenses, and you should take action to ensure the County Clerk in your county is planning to follow the law. Numerous news reports have indicated some county clerks (Dallas, Bexar, Travis) are publicly promising to issue licenses and potentially alter the state marriage license form for homosexual couples on the day of the decision. But, County Clerks must follow state law and should await direction from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after the Supreme Court’s decision. (UPDATE: Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued statement giving direction to county clerks on this issue.)
Here is a portion of the letters we sent to the Dallas and Bexar County Clerks (see full letters here):
The Texas Family Code requires county clerks to “furnish the application form as prescribed by the bureau of vital statistics.” See Tex. Family Code § 2.004. You have no authority to alter this form, and any county clerk who alters this form before providing it to an applicant commits a criminal offense. See Tex. Family Code § 2.012. It appears that you believe that a Supreme Court decision in favor of redefining marriage would allow you to disregard state law. Instead of taking the law into your own hands, we encourage you to follow the direction and/or recommendations of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on this issue.
We encourage you to contact your county clerk TODAY and ensure that they plan to follow state law and the direction from the Texas Attorney General after the Supreme Court’s decision.
3. Whatever the Supreme Court rules about marriage, the government should not discriminate against you for your belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife. Current attacks on religious freedom have been focused on forcing Americans to recognize, celebrate and even participate in gay ‘marriages.’ The next step will be attempts and threats at forcing pastors and churches to perform or host same-sex ‘marriages’ in their facilities. This is one of the main reasons that Texas Values and our legislative advocacy arm Texas Values Action provided strong legal and policy guidance in support of the Pastor Protection Law in the Texas Legislature. The law is in effect in Texas and states that:
- Pastor/Clergy, religious organizations, and employees of religious organizations may not be required to perform a marriage or provide goods, services, or accommodations related to a marriage ceremony if the action would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
- Government may not withhold benefits or privileges from clergy, religious organizations, and employees of religious organizations because they exercise their religious beliefs relating to marriage ceremonies.
We encourage everyone to share this information with your pastor and church. Also, in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order to protect their citizens from state discrimination on the basis of belief in marriage between one man and one woman. Will Gov. Greg Abbott do the same to protect Texas citizens?
4. Texas Values is committed to our mission of protecting marriage and family, religious freedom, and life regardless of how the Supreme Court or any other governmental authority decides. Rest assured the battle over marriage and religious freedom is really just beginning, and Texas Values will be leading the fight across the Lone Star State. God’s Word never changes and neither should our commitment to fighting for biblical values and our ability to live out our faith publicly and in all areas of our lives. Please join us in praying for our great state and nation.